A dream in daylight
By: Sharjeel Inam Memon
Journalism is indeed a noble profession; people from this profession had to suffer a lot to protect their professional integrity and save their spotless character and reputation.
However, with the passage of time deteriorating in ethos has begun and some so-called journalists have even given up the sanctity of pen. These so-called journalists, by their acts of omission and commission, have reduced the integrity of this noble profession into a farce as hypocrisy, hatred, insinuation and personal gains have become their hallmark. There were good old days when journalists used to analyse national issues in their true perspective and put forth their valuable and worth-emulating suggestions, enabling government of the day to implement the same. However, the decline in ethos is so pathetic that involved journalists are bent upon to turn false, frivolous and unfounded insinuations as true and believable.
A column in daily Jang Karachi on Eid, under the title of “Chalte Chalte” by Shaheen Sehbai reflects such mindset and one will hardly find appropriate words to condemn it. His thoughts elaborated in the column reflected contradictions which speaks volume for itself. Allegations contained in the column are nothing more than figment of Mr Sehbai’s personal imagination. He calls upon the institutions concerned not to let people, enlisted in the column, flee the country for their involvement in corruption. These people have served the nation during the last five years.
They included Salman Farooqi, Rehman Malik, Dr Asim Hussain, Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, Faisal Raza Abidi, Babar Awan, Aijaz Haroon, Nadeem Yusufzai, Faisal Sakhi Butt, Farzana Raja, Yousaf Raza Gilani, Moosa Gilani, Nargis Sethi, Husain Haqqani, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Ahmed Riaz Sheikh, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Farooq H Naek, Riaz Lal Ji, Malik Riaz, Muzaffar Awais Tappi, Obaid Jatoi, Dr Qayyum Soomro, Mohsin Naqvi, Anwar Majeed, Iqbal Memon, Javed Pasha and Faryal Talpur.
It is strange to note that the name of Mr Salman Farooqi preceded the name of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf as well as former prime minister Gilani in the list. This indexation is not without a reason which has an interesting tale to tell. According to that, Mr Shaheen Sehbai recently visited Mr Salman Farooqui, principal secretary to the president, at the Presidency in connection with his personal gains but he had to return empty-handed that utterly disappointed him.
While levelling unfounded allegations, the writer has bitterly failed to realise that there is an independent judiciary working in the country and many people enlisted by him have already faced the court in cases against them and proved their innocence and this fact has too been admitted by the writer himself when he opines that charges against these people are yet to be established; in spite of such open admission, it is preposterous to think when the same writer demands that these people must be called and investigated in connection with embezzlement of Rs 83 billion in OGRA funds.
The writer later alluded to an Indian film song in which the heroin laments and points her finger at some people whom she considers to have deprived her of chader (decency).
To discover the whole truth, we need to have a peep into Mr Shaheen Sehbai’s past to determine and expose his character and credentials.
Mr Shaheen Sehbai left Pakistan during General Pervez Musharaf regime in 2008 owing to a dispute of domestic nature. In the US, he along with his old comrade, Manzoor Aijaz, launched a smear campaign against Mr Zardari and his party.
In the US, he tried to discover new vista of his fortune but to no avail. They launched a web-based magazine titled South Asia Tribune but could not sustain as journalism based on mere character assassination can find an easy sailing in Pakistan but not in the country like the US. Then he joined The News as editor. He returned to Pakistan in 2008.
It is beyond one’s comprehension that once Mr Sehbai told Mr Zardari that credit goes to him (Mr Sehbai) for drafting the Charter of Democracy, although Mr Zardari knew better that it were stalwarts of both the political parties, including Raza Rabbani, Safdar Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal and Ishaq Dar, who on the directives of their party leadership burnt midnight oil to make the charter possible which proved a watershed in the country’s history. When the writer failed in all his efforts to woo Mr Zardari, he again returned to the US.
There are some excerpts taken from some articles contributed by Shaheen Sehbai during the last five years, enabling readers to determine truth whatsoever disclosed in his analysis and so-called predictions. On August 6, 2010, he, in his article appearing in The News and Jang, disclosed a cold war between the GHQ and Presidency and concluded that days of the government were numbered.
On September 17, 2010, he came out with a roadmap claiming that the MQM will soon part its ways with the Gilani-led coalition government; the PML-N is poised to bring a no-confidence motion against the prime minister and the president will face impeachment and that the Supreme Count will disqualify the PM and the nation will witness a change.
Such writings were tantamount to instigating the army and apex court to interfere in political arena. When his dream remained unfulfilled with all his predictions proving illusive and obscured, he stooped so low as he accused president of entering into a secret marriage.
On July 25, 2011, he informed the nation about formation of a government comprising 20 technocrats. On September 25, 2011, he claimed that the army had been moved against the government. On December 8, 2011, his allegations and insinuations attained a crescendo, which took everyone by surprise that President Asif Ali Zardari has been admitted to a Dubai-based hospital after his ailment and since his recovery from ailment is not possible, hence, he will not return to Pakistan.
It is unfortunate that all his false, absurd and illusive predictions failed to restrain him from making more predictions as on July 25, 2012, he again resorted to his old habit and claimed that President Zardari will get himself elected from the current National and provincial assemblies. The government immediately refuted the assertion. For now, Mr Sehbai is again calling upon some unidentified institutions to arrest 29 persons mentioned by him. It is, therefore, well known by all and sundry that all prediction made by Mr Sehbai have failed to prove their truth and objectivity. There is financial corruption in Pakistan but to launch a crusade against it while sitting in the US is not appropriate. He should first come to Pakistan and then he is welcome to expose all wrongdoings in substance and not on mare speculations, conjuncture, and self- imagination to achieve his nefarious designs and motives.